Coast General Insurance Brokers provides commercial lines and employee benefits coverage for California business owners. Niche industries include attorneys, contractors, food services, and truckers. Director of Operations/Senior Account Manager Angelina Lopez says: “We’re here to make their lives easier.”
One way they make things easier is offering payment options. The agency has been accepting credit cards for more than 10 years. It hasn’t always been smooth. Angelina describes having a credit card machine in the office and manually entering card numbers given over the phone. Next, they had a merchant service company — two, actually: one for credit card payments and another for ACH payments. Throughout, Coast General was absorbing all the costs. “We found ourselves having to increase our broker fees to offset the merchant charges,” recalls Angelina.
That all changed for the better in 2018. “We are part of IIABCal,” says Angelia. “That’s how we learned about ePayPolicy. They showed me their demo; it was quick and easy, and the payment page had our logo on it.”
Benefits to the agency
ePayPolicy automatically deposits carrier payments into the trust account and fees into the operating account. “That was a problem before,” says Angelina. “ePayPolicy understands how insurance works, our fiduciary responsibilities.”
Angelina also appreciates that “our payment page looks like ‘us.’” She also loves the quick confirmation of payment (“I know when something is binding because I get the receipts via email”) and going into the ePayPolicy portal and seeing the batch reports.
She’s also using the platform to make payments. “A lot of our wholesaler MGAs use ePayPolicy. The money could be due tomorrow. I can make a payment today and the MGA receives the notification right away. It saves time for both of us.”
Client response to ePayPolicy
“I would say 95 percent of our agency bill clients are using it,” says Angelina. “About 50/50 ACH and credit cards. Business owners like to get their credit card mileage points.”
But like any agency, Coast General has a few “old school” clients. “If they’re afraid of the technology, I tell them it’s secure and very easy to use. I also point out that we can’t bind without payment. If they need the coverage now and are out on the road, ePayPolicy makes it happen.”
She notes that during the pandemic, Coast General started absorbing the $3 ACH transaction fee and are continuing with that practice.
What’s next for Coast General
The agency recently switched over to Applied EPIC. Angelina looks forward to integrating their new management system with ePayPolicy.
Advice to other agencies
“For $20* a month, I would say to embrace this technology upgrade. And don’t be afraid. It’s so much easier for both our accounting department and clients,” she suggests, adding: “Our quote-to-bind ratio increased significantly once we started ePayPolicy. They sign electronically, they pay electronically, and it’s done.”
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